5 Worst Health Trends of 2013

January 6, 2014

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worst health trends of 2013Each year new health trends emerge and others fizzle. Some trends are great for your health, but others catch on that can steer you waistline in the wrong direction. It’s time to kick the worst health trends of 2013 to the curb, so we can make room for new, healthy habits in 2014.

1. Gluten-Free Diets: If you do not have a medical reason to go gluten free, like celiac disease or a gluten allergy, there is really no health benefit to cutting it out of your diet. Gluten is simply a protein found mainly in rye, wheat, and barley. In fact, many foods that contain gluten, like healthy whole grains, help promote weight loss because they’re packed with vitamins and fiber. If you cut gluten out of your diet you’re missing out on these essential nutrients. If you lose weight on a gluten-free diet it’s because you’re cutting excess carbs, not gluten. And today, manufacturers are making gluten-free versions of your favorite sweets, which are just as bad as gluten-containing counterparts.

2. Artificial Sweeteners: Studies show those who use artificial sweeteners tend to gain weight more than those who opt for natural sweeteners. Some experts also believe they trigger fat storage and stimulate appetite. Artificial sweeteners don’t just come in those tiny pink or yellow packets, but they’re also in most diet sodas and sugar-free drinks. If you need sweeten your beverages, opt for a natural version like honey.

3. High-Intensity Workouts: Workouts that push your body to its limit have emerged as a popular trend in 2013. However, there is such thing as overdoing it. These high-intensity workouts are not for everyone, and for those who have never completed a fitness program, they can be dangerous. Consult your physician before beginning a high-intensity exercise program. Even adding 30 minutes walking per day is beneficial. You don’t necessarily have to push your body to its limits to see results.

4. Low-Fat Diets: When a food is labeled low fat it usually means that fat is replaced with sugar. Moreover, fat isn’t so bad for you. Unsaturated fats are good for your weight loss efforts because they help lower bad, LDL cholesterol and improve good, HDL cholesterol. One study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine found a Mediterranean diet, which is based on healthy fats, reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events by 30 percent.

5. Sitting Too Much. Sitting is shortening our lives. A study published in BMJ Open found if the majority people spent less than three hours a day sitting, the life expectancy in America would increase by about two years. The typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. desk job isn’t helping. Studies show the average adult reports spending about 55 percent of his or her day sedentary, which may be a conservative estimate. Make an effort to get away from your desk more in 2014. Take walking breaks or invest in a stand-up desk. You’ll improve your health and be more productive during the work day.

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